Columbia, SC — A family with children goes to rent an apartment, and the property manager only shows them apartments in the rear, near the playground equipment. A black loan applicant is turned away because of poor credit while a white applicant with poor credit is told about programs to assist people with poor credit. An applicant for an apartment is told that she can’t have her emotional-support cat in the apartment.
All of these are examples of illegal housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, which Congress passed 45 years ago. Communities across the nation celebrate Fair Housing Month every April by remembering how far we have come, and how far we have to go.
The act makes it illegal to discriminate in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, sex or disability. Fair housing includes the right to live in the neighborhood of your choice. It affects the quality of schools, jobs, health care, transportation and recreation available.
Discrimination today is not as overt as in the past. Oftentimes, it is subtle and done with a handshake and a smile. If you believe you were subjected to discrimination, please contact the Human Affairs Commission at (803) 737-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact Raymond Buxton at (803) 737-7800 or email@example.com or contact me, director of fair housing, at (803) 737-7831 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delaine A. Frierson